Best Old School Las Vegas Sports Books

Las Vegas has seen countless hotel/casinos bite the dust over the years. Along with that, the $1.99 late night steak and eggs as well as $2 blackjack have all but disappeared from Sin City. Las Vegas  sports books have seen many changes as well, where old school amenities like free Racing Forms, no questions asked complimentary drinks (without a need for drink tickets), and adjacent 24-hour coffee shops are a thing of the past. Some new spots in Las Vegas, such as the recently remodeled Cromwell, have done away with the traditional Las Vegas sports book altogether.


Las Vegas Sports Books - They Don't Make THem Like They Used To (Cromwell Sports Betting Kiosk)

Las Vegas Sports Books – They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To (Cromwell Sports Betting Kiosk)


However, in a city like Las Vegas where change is constant, you can still find sports books with that classic appeal that somewhat keeps the old school Las Vegas sports book tradition alive. Here are a few to ponder if you’re looking for that old school Las Vegas sports book vibe.

The Mirage – A Las Vegas sports book constructed in 1989 doesn’t sound very old school, however the Mirage sports book space is laid out in the “Mega Sports Book” style that was prevalent in the late 80s and much of the 90s. This was a boom time for construction on the strip and the period where giant sports books were included in newly built resorts such as Bellagio (1998) and Mandalay Bay (1999).

The Mirage Sports Book Still Maintains Some "Old School "Elements

The Mirage Sports Book Still Maintains Some “Old School “Elements (image:

Yes, the ultra HD screens are new and the sports book space was modified a couple of years ago, which reconfigured the sports and horse racing areas. But much of the original elements of the Mirage sports book space that was built over 25 years ago have stayed the same. From the decorative horse racing bannister caps to the funky flagstone wall fascia at the betting windows, the Mirage sports book maintains a lot of its original charm.

The Mirage Sports Book

The Mirage Sports Book

Another nice touch is the restrooms directly connected to the sports book – this was a typical design feature for “Mega” sports books built back in the day. Nowadays, sports book friendly restrooms are hit and miss (see Planet Hollywood where you have to walk a country mile from the sports book to the nearest restroom).

Gold Coast – The off-strip Gold Coast is not on the radar of many sports bettors visiting Las Vegas, however this comfy spot for horse bettors is easily accessible if you’re staying at or visiting the Rio or Palms. Aside from the addition of HD flat screens, the Gold Coast sports book is exactly the same as it was when it was built in late 1986 – a good thing or bad thing depending on who you ask.  From the old school hot dog cart to the community racing forms at the rear of the sports book, the Gold Coast will take you back in time a bit – with so much constantly changing in Vegas, that’s not a bad thing.

Gold Coast Sports Book

Gold Coast Sports Book

The one knock on this old school sports book is the adjacent TGIFs chain restaurant. This space was formerly occupied by the Monterey Room Coffee Shop, which had great Graveyard Specials on the menu such as a $3.45 Steak and eggs with hash browns and toast. Having a 24-hour casino coffee shop directly adjacent to the sports book was a great old school touch back in the day. The Monterey Room, and its comfy booths to sit in and look over sports book odds sheets in the morning, went away in 2008.

Golden Nugget –  One would think that downtown would have the highest concentration of old school type of sports books in Las Vegas. And while there are some old spots downtown such as El Cortez and the California, the majority of sports books, especially along Fremont Street, have been spruced up over the past few years.

Golden Nugget Sports Book

Golden Nugget Sports Book

William Hill took over operation of several sports books in old Vegas and they’ve done a solid job modernizing these spots. As far as a true old school sports book experience in Downtown Las Vegas goes, the Golden Nugget is the choice. From the low ceilings, dark wood, and lounge style seating, one truly feels like you are in a classy “vintage” Vegas space.

College Football Being Shown at the Golden Nugget Sports Book

College Football Being Shown at the Golden Nugget Sports Book

There are HD screens galore at the Nugget sports book – the most screens per square foot of any sports book in town – a modern touch to the vintage experience. If you are downtown, a stop at the Golden Nugget sports book is definitely in order.

SouthPoint – How can a sports book that is only 10 years old be considered old school you ask? Well, the SouthPoint sports book has a lot to offer for sports bettors looking for an old school Vegas vibe.

South Point Sports Book

South Point Sports Book

The SouthPoint (South Coast at the time) was the first large scale resort built south of McCarran airport. Being way off-strip produced a need to make things right for locals and visitors alike and the sports book has done that. $2 drink specials at casino bars, an old school deli connected to the sports book, and a giant lounge to the rear of the sports book space are nice touches. Not to mention the Vienna Beef hot dog cart a few steps away.

The Hot Dog Cart at South Point Las Vegas

Long Line at the Hot Dog Cart – South Point Sports Book in Las Vegas

The horse racing area stands separate from the sports book and it is the largest horse racing dedicated space amongst all Las Vegas sports books. Free community racing forms can be found at the rear of the book and the HD screens are plentiful. Racing Forms are available for sale (many sports books no longer offer racing forms – free or otherwise) and their turf club card is pretty decent in terms of comps for horse players.

South Point Sports Book Has  A Separate Horse Racing Area

South Point Sports Book Has A Separate Horse Racing Area

There is also a house handicapper offering up seminars for horseplayers on certain days of the calendar. An old school touch that was done away with that many probably are Ok with? Cigars – smoking stogies is no longer allowed in the sports book or horse racing areas.

Next time you’re in Vegas exploring sports book land, visiting one of these old school spots may provide some classic Vegas fun.           

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